Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 423 pages
Goodreads Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.The Girl of Fire and Thorns is an original, wonderfully written fantasy novel that I did not see coming. I'm not sure what I expected from this book but it exceeded my expectations. I more of a character than a plot driven reader and this book has both a great main character and a fascinating plot.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.
I love Elisa! Her character experiences a tremendous amount of growth and maturity throughout the novel, probably the most of any character in a book I’ve read recently. Elisa, because of the Godstone in her bellybutton, knows she is destined for greatness but has no idea how she will achieve it. I know the idea of the Godstone, a living jewel placed by God in someone’s bellybutton, is kind of weird but the fantasy elements and world building are so well done, it works and works very well.
Elisa is sheltered, coddled, has never been responsible for anything but she is educated and book smart. She is an emotional eater with low self esteem and no self confidence. The story is told in first person and you really feel sorry for her especially when she is hastily forced into an arranged marriage to Alejandro and feels so inadequate and unworthy of him. Through the course of the novel, Elisa is put into situations where she could have allowed her lack of confidence to undermine her but she completely steps up and even though she is afraid, she steps out on faith and does what she prays she has been destined to do. Speaking of faith, religion plays a big part in The Girl of Fire and Thorns and this too is handled very well.
The romance in the book is a little complicated as Elisa marries one man who does not see her worth but she learns love from another man who does. With all that going on, I was really pulling for a third guy (Team Hector over here!) and I hope to see a lot more of him in the sequel.
Some may see the beginning of The Girl of Fire and Thorns as being a little slow but all of it was necessary for the fantastic world building. The book picks up nicely and the adventure is awesome. The novel reads like a standalone book (no cliffhangers!) but I’m happy it’s the first in a series as I loved the writing, the characters, the political intrigue, the fantasy elements, the setting that invoked Spanish and North African influences, all of it. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
Content: Kissing, some adult themes and violence.
My Rating: Really Good!